If New Year's Eve to you means a memorable meal, you're in luck. Restaurants all over town are saying goodbye to 2008 with celebrations that involve fine dining and drinking rather than streamers and cheap hats. Here is our roundup of stellar spots to take your taste buds into the new year:
Spend the last night of 2008 at one of the most talked-about restaurants of the year -- the West Loop hotspot Sepia, a favorite of First Lady-in waiting Michelle Obama. (Could there be a Page Six-style sighting before the Obamas make their move to D.C.?) The contemporary American restaurant will feature two seatings on New Year's Eve -- the first at 5:15-7:30PM offers four courses for $60 per person, while the second, from 8-9:30PM, serves five courses for $80.
At the clubby, contemporary Custom House, a modern steakhouse located in the Loop, New Year's Eve means meat. The first dinner seating takes place between 5:30-7PM, offering a four-course, prix-fixe menu for $75 per person. The second seating, from 8:30-10PM, offers the meal for $110, plus live jazz music, party favors and a midnight champagne toast.
Mad scientist-slash-culinary visionary Homaro Cantu is cooking up a New Year's Eve to remember at Moto, his Fulton Market funhouse. The restaurant is offering a 12-course tasting menu, no doubt filled with all manner of gourmet wizardry, for $150 per person. Wine pairings are available for $90.
Give your celebration a French accent at Brasserie Jo, which will feature two dinner seatings for the evening. Chef Jean Joho will serve favorites from the River North bistro. The first seating, from 5-6PM, is $39 per person for three courses, while the second seating, from 6-11PM, features four courses for $59 per person. Live music, a champagne toast and party favors are all thrown in for good measure.
The sleek surroundings of Nine Steakhouse in the West Loop provide a sexy spot to ring in the new year. There will be two dinner seatings -- the first one, from 5:30-7PM, requires a pre-paid $40 per person food and beverage minimum, while the second seating, between 8-10PM, has a pre-paid $80 per person minimum, which also includes admission after 11PM to Ghostbar, a luxe lounge located upstairs. If you're only interested in the party part of the equation, Ghostbar's bash includes passed hors d'oeuvres and a glass of champagne from 9-11PM for $20.09. The party continues into the new year with a DJ and dancing.
A cozy New Year's Eve is in store at North Pond, chef Bruce Sherman's Lincoln Park gem. A five-course, prix-fixe menu will be served throughout the evening (6-10PM) for $110 per person. Wine pairings can be added for an additional $50.
Check out the cuisine of new Le Lan chef Chad Starling while he gets to show off a little. The River North resto will offer a five-course tasting menu for the first seating (5:30-6:30PM, $80 per person), and an indulgent seven-course menu for a second seating after 8:30PM ($110).
Toast 2008 with good food and great wines at Bin 36's "Drink Wine, Live Well, Have Fun!" celebration. Wine director Brian Duncan will dip into his stash for some special occasion wines to pour, while chef John Caputo will offer five culinary stations set up throughout the River North restaurant, each with a corresponding wine pairing. An open bar, champagne toast, live jazz and party gifts will send you into '09 with a smile. 9PM-2AM, tickets purchased before Dec. 15 are $175, $225 thereafter.